Vanity is a very widespread specific form of non-freedom, which is easily underestimated in its negative effect if we follow seriously the Lord. It has many forms, although it may also affect women in particular in terms of appearance.
Perhaps one is inclined to look at a woman’s vanity and think it is more harmless, especially if you are male! Perhaps with a slight smile, this is considered to be an “insignificant thing” that somehow seems to belong to the essence of women. After all, men usually love beautiful women and often support them decorating themselves!
But here one is mistaken, because vanity is a deep bond with one’s own person, which creates a lack of freedom of one’s own person, but can also draw others into this lack of freedom, if, for example, they are not able to deal freely with the fascination of external beauty of a person.
This subject needs a good discernment, because beauty is one of the good values and only becomes a non-freedom if it occupies a wrong place in the hierarchy of values, if one no longer looks at it as an undeserved gift, but builds up one’s own person with it.
This also applies, of course, to other values such as knowledge and education, artistic skills and other gifts. The vanity that attracts these values and thus inflates one’s own person distorts these values, because they no longer allow the view of the donor of these values to be released, but bind them to the person.
Each of us knows how much thinking in this world is determined by the dimension of beauty. One unconsciously combines with beauty also the good and is, for example, willing to give a woman who looks beautiful some kind of advantage.
It is therefore no wonder that the beauty of a woman in general counts a great deal in our world and often gives her access to things and circumstances that would be difficult to achieve if they looked less good. We also know that men can be caught by a woman’s beauty and find it quite difficult to escape her attraction, if they want it at all.
The consequence is that for women beauty can easily become a kind of “power potential” that she can consciously use to achieve certain goals. The more she receives appropriate recognition and is given a kind of special position in life, the more the external beauty strengthens the self-confidence.
Even in the Holy Scripture there are clues as to how the beauty of a woman is put into service. Let us think of the stories of Queen Esther or of Judith!
On the other hand, the beauty and attraction of women becomes an opportunity for both King David and his son Solomon to oppose the commandments of God.
A closer look at vanity
Whom do you want to please? Of course, it is natural for women that they usually want to please the opposite sex, but also themselves and actually everyone. Even women respond to the beauty of another woman in many ways: she can provoke envy, but also admiration, one can feel ugly in front of beautiful women and corresponding complexes can be amplified.
For many young and adolescent girls, this question becomes such a dominant topic – especially in the puberty phase – that girls can only move freely if they think their beauty is acceptable. Once a negative remark about their appearance comes, they feel completely destroyed in their self-worth. So we can see that the question of beauty was growing to an idol.
The subject will be continued tomorrow!
Harpa Dei accompanies the daily scriptural interpretation or spiritual teaching of Br. Elija, their spiritual father. These meditations can be heard on the following website www.en.elijamission.net